Author Atul Gawande identifies critical ways that patients and families can take control of improving medical care.
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Host: What role do patient do patients play in that community? Guest: It's a huge contribution that patients can make and don't realize in certain ways. And partly it's because we in medicine have not made it easy for patients to take an active role. We know that one of the critical things in being able to live a long life is all the things you can do with your own behavior that make it possible to live and do well. But even something as simple as going to a hospital, there are opportunities. One of the things I try to get people understand is that the people who do extraordinarily well at what they do is they think hard about fallibility. They think hard about the ways in which they themselves fail and the world around them fails. Then they try to remedy that and you can do that as a patient. When you go to a doctor, you can ask, what is the common way that this encounter could lead to a problem? The common mistake has to with medications and not being sure what patient are on or making incorrect choices afterwards. So what I tell people is bring your medicines to your office visits including your non prescription medications. Then there is no confusion. If you have someone who is sick and in the hospital, what's one of the most common ways that things can go wrong? Well, there are nurses coming and going, different doctors in the day, then in the night and there is often a breakdown in communication. So one thing I tell people is when you have a family member who is sick, never leave them alone. It's crucial for you to be the glue. You can see what evolves what changes and it's a chance for you to be a real resource for the team itself.